Carpenter scheduled to face live hitters later this week

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Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter continues to make a mostly smooth recovery from the left hamstring strain that he suffered last week.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Carp is scheduled to face live hitters in a batting practice session Friday and could be cleared to resume appearing in Grapefruit League games if everything goes well.

Carpenter gave the Cardinals a little scare when he felt a twinge in the hamstring this past weekend, but he threw an aggressive bullpen session Tuesday and reported no problems during or after.

St. Louis is praying for another ace-like season out of the veteran right-hander, especially in the wake of Adam Wainwright’s recent Tommy John surgery. Carpenter posted a fantastic 3.22 ERA and 1.18 WHIP over 235 innings last year, racking up 179 strikeouts against only 63 walks. He nearly won the National League Cy Young Award in 2009.

Hyun-Jin Ryu will open season in Dodgers’ rotation

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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu will open the regular season in the starting rotation, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports.

Ryu, 30, missed the entire 2015 season and made only one start last season due to shoulder and elbow injuries. The lefty has looked solid in three spring appearances, however, yielding a lone run on five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in nine innings.

With Scott Kazmir likely to begin the season on the disabled list, that leaves Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Dodgers’ rotation.

Jorge Soler diagnosed with strained oblique, Opening Day in doubt

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Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.

The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.

When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.